The latest theory to emerge amongst the COVID-19 news is as offensive as it is false.
Despite overwhelming evidence that all of my rashguards were deliberately shrunk by a nefarious force such as aliens or the FBI, a small, but growing conspiracy theory currently being spread is that I just put on a significant amount of weight during quarantine.
While the origins of the conspiracy theory are still unclear, the first reports of its circulation began on my first day back at jiu-jitsu, when I noticed that my rashguard felt a bit tighter than normal. “Wow,” I said, allegedly. “My rashguard feels a bit tighter than normal.”
It was then that a teammate, who I would have never expected to subscribe to such fringe ideas, said to me, “Oh, don’t worry, I got a bit chunky in quarantine as well.”
The “as well” was a wink — a test to see if I, too, believed in the ridiculous possibility that three months of occasional yoga and semi-daily walks around the block weren’t enough to offset the depression calories I’d been consuming during the time that the gym was closed. Thankfully, this troubled time had taught me to be sympathetic to conspiracy theorists, who are really just anxious people trying to make sense of a chaotic world. “Yeah, maybe,” I said with a smile and a shrug, content to placate her.
The problem worsened when I went to my second class and found that yet another one of my rashguards was a bit snug. Although I tried to brush it off as a coincidence, my gut told me that this was a pattern. I expressed my concern to another teammate (who, in his defense, was at a 10th Planet gym for a couple of years before he came to us), and soon learned that he, too, has been turned into a sheep herded by fear. “I think it has less to do with all your gear shrinking in the wash and more to do with your lifestyle choices,” he said with a stunning lack of embarrassment.
Well, the joke was on him — I tried on every single rashguard in my closet, all of which had fit me perfectly before the coronavirus shut all the gyms down, and every last one was altered to be too snug for comfort. I considered the idea that my ex had broken into my house and swapped all of them out with a smaller size to mess with me, but given that she has me blocked on every platform, I couldn’t even reach out to ask. My friend suggested that fairies had snuck in and shrunken them all with magic, then hurriedly insisted that he was “joking” when I insisted that my windows were far too heavy for fairies to open.
It has quickly become apparent that the theory has gained momentum, as some of my teammates and even my coach have suggested “exercising more” and “fixing my diet” as “solutions” for my “situation.” I truly pray for our nation in this troubled time and fear that the only way to escape the madness is to purchase a large plot of land with the few remaining sane, like-minded members of the jiu-jitsu community.